Rapid Reaction: Michigan St. 31, Northwestern 17

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Let's take a quick look at how the Michigan State Spartans rolled past the Northwestern Wildcats 31-17 on Saturday afternoon at Ryan Field.

How it happened: Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver B.J. Cunningham and the Spartans defense took care of the rest at the end. Northwestern's Dan Persa tried to lead his team back towards the end of the game but his offensive line could not help him much and the Wildcats fell into the same trap they've stumbled in all season.

What it means: In many ways, this was a fitting conclusion for Northwestern's regular season. They were beaten by a better team, but, as usual, it was a game the Wildcats had plenty of chances to win. They just couldn't make a big play or get a stop when they needed it the most.

Stat of the day: The Spartans were 8-for-13 on third down.

What's next: Northwestern (6-6) waits to see how the bowl schedule will shake out.